Highlights include: 18 homes rebuilt, school fees for 33 children, food for 427 households, business grants for 56 women, and a security tips workshop for 92 (see pictures below)
In September the EYN Disaster Ministry continued its recovery efforts. 18 family homes were rebuilt in a village off the beaten path. Extra workers were employed to carry the roofing materials across the river. Those whose homes were repaired expressed their thanks; they thought no one would ever be able to reach them with this much needed help after their village was burned by the Boko Haram.
School is not free for children in Nigeria and sometimes the family cannot afford the school fees. As a new school year started, Disaster Ministry was able to pay the fees for 33 orphans.
Food distributions are still taking place across the region. Help was given at three camps for Internally Displaced Persons in Maiduguri. In Garkida region, a distribution for 132 families helped Christians and Muslims.
A workshop was held at the Headquarters for District leaders, staff, and heads of church programs. The workshop for 92 people dealt with how to handle ongoing security issues and gave tips and best practices during this difficult time.
In a subsistence farming culture, families try to grow enough food to feed themselves and then sell the excess for other necessities. In addition to farming, many people have a small business on the side but start-up capital is always hard to come by especially for widows. The Women’s Ministry coordinated Disaster Ministry funds to train 56 women in tailoring and business practices. At their graduation from the training, each woman was provided with $150 start-up capital to put their new skills to work.
Please continue to pray for Nigeria and the ongoing Disaster work.
n July, five workshops were held for children ages 10 to 17. Each workshop was held in a different town and included 10 girls and 10 boys. Most of the attendees were orphans; some lost their parents from natural deaths and others as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency. Many children have been victims of trauma and care was taken to invite those who had experienced the most trauma. Some children were chosen from the Madagali area where continued attacks occur and the area is still volatile.
Many of the children’s stories are heartbreaking. Part of the healing process involves telling your story, learning the effects of trauma, and forgiving those who caused the trauma.
Here are excerpts from three stories:
Jadiwar (14) – I ran into the bush and lived on a rock near one of the Boko Haram hideouts with very little food or water. I narrowly escaped but whenever I remember the event, it breaks my heart. I thank God for this workshop which has helped me to remember my hardship without letting it tear me apart.
Hauwa (15) – I was shot by Boko Haram militants in our house during the attacks. My father left me in a pool of blood and ran for his life. My brother came back and rescued me. Even though my physical wound was healed, I couldn’t work well or go to school. Before the workshop I found it difficult to forgive my father because I thought he hated my but now I have forgiven him.
Happy (15) – I lost both my parents and I was living with my elderly brother who started selling hard drugs to get money for our survival. He was arrested and put in prison. Due to the trauma, I could not sleep. But coming to this workshop has helped me regain my confidence and hope in life and I am sleeping better.
In other Disaster news…
On August 18, the town of Kidlindila was attacked by the Boko Haram. Although no persons were killed, the insurgents burned eight houses and ten businesses. Everyone fled the area and for several days no one could get back to asses the damage. Just three weeks after the attack, EYN Disaster Ministry provided an emergency distribution with food and sleeping mats for those affected.
With security still an issue, the Disaster Ministry continued working on a wall to surround the EYN National Headquarters and Kulp Theological Seminary. The wall is the first line of defense against a Boko Haram attack. The work consists of molding the cement blocks, digging and laying a foundation, and finally cementing the blocks together for the wall. Taking some tips from Brethren Disaster Ministry in America, they are utilizing volunteers for much of the work and local masons for the rest. One difference between American and Nigeria is that in Nigeria the volunteers are considerably younger (average age of 30 instead of 70). The project is progressing as planned.
Home repairs also continued in May. It is best to get the repairs done before the rains come in June – October. The latest roof repairs were completed in Tsakasimta, a village in a remote area near Biu where 90% of the homes were destroyed by the Boko Haram. 29 rooms were roofed for those selected as most vulnerable. The beneficiaries of the new roofs were so happy and appreciative while others only slightly less vulnerable cried because their still unlivable homes were not chosen.
Following recent Boko Haram attacks, a special relief of food and supplies was carried out to displaced person who gathered in the Yawa District. 67 households were assisted with rice, oil, spices and detergent. Many of the displaced have still not been able to return to their homes to asses the damage and to plant for next year.
As violence continues, dealing with Trauma is ongoing. One-on-One counseling allows people to share their stories, forgive the perpetrators of the crimes and continue with life.
Saratu shared, “I am a widow, my village was attacked and I witnessed the slaughter of my husband and 8 others. In addition 16 women and 7 children were abducted by the insurgents. I narrowly escaped and lived on the mountain under severe hardships for 4 months. I thought my world had come to an end but after this one-on-one counseling, I know that life must continue and I am regaining my strength physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have also forgiven the perpetrators and pray that God will one day call them to salvation.”
There have been new reports of violence and attacks in Northeast Nigeria. Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters as they live in fear but continue to proclaim Jesus Christ as their strength.
As security continues to remain a concern, the EYN Disaster team has provided monetary assistance for the building of a wall which will surround the Kulp Theological Seminary and the church Headquarters area. This project is a huge under taking. Ten teams of block molders helped produce 21,000 blocks. Numerous other volunteers help move the dried blocks to where the bricklayers will construct the wall. Volunteers came from as far away as Maiduguri.
EYN Peace Program continues to work on trauma consciousness and resilience training. In February, workshops were held to measure the work of the newly trained Community Based Facilitators and encouraged these volunteers at the local level. The Community Based Facilitators are local volunteers who have been trained to assist others in dealing with the extreme trauma everyone is facing. As listeners, they give people a chance to share their stories. They also teach some of the principles of trauma and encourage the forgiveness and resilience needed to live under such difficult circumstances. Four workshops took place in areas where Boko Haram are still active (Wagga, Madagali, Gulak and Midlu). The Peace program leaders had to travel back and forth from Michika each day as it was not safe to sleep in the towns holding the trainings.
All the churches in this eastern area of EYN have been burned and yet the churches continue to worship under temporary shelters. 81 facilitators, 22 females and 59 males, attended the four workshops; that’s 81 people at the local level trained to guide others through their trauma. Pray for all these volunteers and their trainers as they engage in such important work.
The Ekklesiayar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) Disaster Ministry visited two camps in Maiduguri. Shagari has 48 households and Cherubim & Seraphim has 65 households. The people are crowded into a small compound with 9-13 people sleeping in one 10X10 “tent” right next to the next one. There is often a lack of sufficient food for the camp, medical assistance is minimal, and many children are still not attending any school.
The Disaster Ministry registered the people at these two camps and brought food supplies.
In the town of Dabna in Hong Local Government Area 60 houses were destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency. The Disaster Ministry was able to put roofs on 27 of these homes. Not everyone can be helped but the church helps choose those who need the most help. Please continue to pray for Nigeria!
Dr. Rebecca Dali is the Executive Director of the Center for Caring Empowerment and Peace Initiative (CCEPI). For the past 3 years CCEPI (supported by Nigeria Crisis Response) has been operating training centers for widows and orphans who are victims of the Boko Haram insurgency. The centers interview and screen applicants to ensure they are helping the most vulnerable and include both Muslims and Christians. In 2018, there were 4 centers located across the region with 180 students. The centers provide nine months of training for the students. When they graduate they are given the tools of the trade so they can immediately start a business. CCEPI’s program goes a long way in providing independence and self reliance. This year 75 were trained in computers, 70 in sewing, 18 in knitting and 18 in catering. All the students learn how to make soap and other cleaning products which they can use and sell.
The pictures below are from the graduation ceremonies where the students are given the sewing machines, computers, knitting machines and catering supplies.
Please continue to pray for these Livelihood Centers, the instructors and the graduates.
The EYN Disaster Ministry continues its work in Northeast Nigeria. In October:
Food distributed in remote area
Participants at trauma workshop
2 food distributions were held for 1600 people ($12,419)
25 homes were re-roofed ($11,430)
Overhead tank for motorized borehole
3 boreholes were drilled (1 motorized with an overhead tank) for 3 communities reaching over 2000 with clean water ($10,686)
2 trauma workshops for 42 individuals whose lives are forever changed with the message of forgiveness and assistance in living with trauma ($1776)
While we celebrate the work done we also acknowledge the many challenges faced by the Disaster Ministry as they continue this vital work.
There is still insecurity in some areas. There is fear of Herdsmen destruction of farms while participating in the trauma workshops. The bad roads make it very difficult to reach some of the communities with roofing materials. The high demand for assistance is always greater than the resources available.
In the last two weeks Boko Haram has intensified their activities in BORNO State. On Saturday, 28 farmers were killed at KALLE village near Molai along Damboa Road, Maiduguri. That night, two villages in Konduga were burnt down and many were killed. On Thursday, October 18th, Hauwa, the midwife working with RED cross that was kidnapped in RANN, was murdered. In addition a lot of killings are taking place around Dagu and Midlu. At the moment, KADUNA State is under 24 hour curfew because of Religious crisis between Christian and Muslim youth. At Kasuwan Magani, more than 58 people were killed and many houses were burnt down. The country really needs prayer as confusion and political interest are hitting hard. We can say that boko haram and the religious crisis is far from coming to an end. The Government and the Military are not giving the world the true picture of our country.
Conference center at EYN Headquarters
Finally, many people in the EYN area are living in a fear of the unknown. We will continue to trust in the Lord and his saving grace.
Thank you for your prayers for Nigeria and its people.
Earlier this year, EYN women’s ministry, under the leadership of Suzan Mark, held a seminar for young widows. There are over 4000 young widows in Northeast Nigeria as a direct result of the men killed by the Boko Haram Insurgency. This special seminar was held for 100 young widows that have little children and have no source of income. They were selected from 19 most affected DCCs as follows. Wagga, Madagali, Midlu, Gulak Ribawa, Bikama, Hong, Gombi, Gulantabal, Garkida, Kwajaffa, Lassa, Mussa, Askira, Mbalala, Balgi,Kautikari, Chibok and Dille.
Here are some of the things accomplished by the seminar along with concerns and recommendations for the future. Please pray for these widows and their children.
99 came and received training in income generation skills.
All were give N40,000 ($115) in seed grant money to start businesses.
They were also taught simple health tips and child protection messages.
They all received lessons on HIV (some were tested). This was done in collaboration with EYN HIV Program.
All the young widows at all the workshops lost their husbands as a result of the insurgency.
Most women that were captured by Boko Haram have been refused by their husbands along with the children they had during captivity.
Some women treat such children with hatred, for they see the children as the cause of the disgrace.
Both the women and the children have not gained full acceptance in their communities.
Many girls had babies as the result of rape and sexual exploitation during the insurgency.
Number of widows, orphans and other vulnerable children is increasing daily.
All the widows are in need of “Self-care.”
There is need to create awareness on the treatments of the escaped women and their children in order to gain acceptance in their communities.
The case of rape should be taken serious because it is a crime.
There is need for counseling for the above mentioned women including girls and children victims.
They need to be empowered economically and socially.
There is a need for advocacy for gender justice. Women celebrate release of their husbands while men refused the coming back of their wives.
Chibok area received 2 new bore holes at Birgizu – The people in the area were so happy that the Village Chief and four people from the community traveled to EYN headquarters to convey their thanks. The delegation told the Disaster Ministry team that EYN has wiped their longtime tears for potable water and proved to them what it means to be Brethren. The area had struggled with different diseases because of the kind of water they had access to. Politicians left them with many promises, but it was the church that came through. They thanked the EYN Leadership, the Disaster Ministry and the donors (Church of the Brethren and Mission 21). To show their happiness they the presented the leadership with several liters of honey.
Advanced Trauma Training was planned for a group from 4 districts still occupied by the Boko Haram. Security issues forced them to hold the training in Yola instead of locally. This proved to be a welcome respite for the participants as they were able to get away from the volatile conditions for several days. The participants of the Advance Training were selected based on their performances during the Basic Training on Healing and Rebuilding of our Communities (HEROC). They will serve as the Listening Companions in their various communities and will work in collaboration with the EYN Peace Program to foster their work on Trauma healing in the selected areas and IDPs Camps.
Here are two impact stories from the training:
I am by a name Lydia; despite the Basic Workshop I had my heart was still heavy whenever I recall what happened to me during the insurgency of Boko Haram. But this training has completely healed my wound and I now forgive Boko Harams.
My name is James; this workshop has personally changed and touched my life in diverse ways. First and foremost, I discovered that my life is precious and more important than anything, so I should not play with it but rather to take care of it. This training helped me to see myself as someone who can help others to see their problems in a realistic way and accept that even after a traumatic event life must continue but never attempt to destroy their lives because of devastation.
In addition, 15 children from the Garkida area were provided school fees; medical assistance and Hep B vaccinations were done at 3 locations; 5 homes were re-roofed in Lassa; and a food distribution was held at one of the relocation centers.